- Winger determined to impress in first appearance on tour
- Tonight is an opportunity to showcase everything that I am about – Monye
As the only member of England’s 42-man squad yet to feature on the tour of South Africa, Ugo Monye is understandably eager to impress this evening during the midweek side’s clash with a Northern Barbarians XV in Potchefstroom (Kick-off 6.10pm BST).
Despite recovering from a hamstring injury in time to play in the Aviva Premiership final for his club Harlequins at the end of last month, Monye suffered a recurrence of the problem soon afterwards and found himself sidelined.
Now, though, following extensive rehab training with England’s strength and conditioning team, the 29 year-old is extremely determined to force his way into Stuart Lancaster’s Test side for Saturday’s series finale in Port Elizabeth.
“My hamstring is good now,” he said. “It was a bit frustrating last week but I am really glad to get the chance to play some rugby and be back on tour.
“Tonight is an opportunity to showcase everything that I am about and to put pressure on some positions as well.”
Forced to watch on from the stands as George Robson’s charges recorded a 54-26 victory over the Southern Barbarians six days ago, Monye went on to suggest that tonight’s opponents would offer similarly abrasive, hard-running threats.
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However, he did also stress that England would be looking to put implement their phase-play patterns more consistently than they managed in Kimberley.
“We know that they are going to want to put on a really good show,” he explained. [The Southern Barbarians] made it very tough last week, scoring four tries. Tonight will be no different but it is all about us. We have to stick to our standards and play really well.
“They will have the same Barbarians feel about them and want to throw the ball around. As the home side, they are certainly going to be very physical as well.
“We must work on what we have been doing all tour, keeping our defence sound and making the most of any attacking opportunities that come our way.”
After finally forcing his way back into the reckoning, Monye finished by excitedly discussing the prospect of being included in the Elite Player Squad ahead of this autumn’s QBE Internationals against Fiji, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.
“I was disappointed not be involved in the Six Nations after coming back from injury but I have found myself with a big opportunity tomorrow night,” added the 13-cap man. “I can put my hand up and show Stuart Lancaster what I am about.
“I want to stay involved in the EPS so I can look forward to the autumn internationals against the big three. They are going to be massive.”